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Sarasota City Hall
Sarasota Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 1 month ago

City workshop to discuss affordable housing, Bobby Jones

At a meeting Monday, the City Commission will consider plans for redesigning a municipal golf course and policies designed to facilitate the production of more affordable housing.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

The City Commission is holding a special workshop next week to focus on two frequent topics of discussion among officials: affordable housing and the future of Bobby Jones Golf Club.

Staff is scheduled to present information about a number of policies the city could pursue in hopes of facilitating the production of more affordable housing. Many of the ideas staff is proposing or considering are mentioned in the Blueprint for Workforce Housing, a report the Florida Housing Coalition prepared for the city and county in 2018.

One of those concepts would involve using a higher-density zoning classification in areas throughout the city officials deem appropriate for workforce housing. Another would reduce the parking requirement for multifamily housing projects with affordable units. Additional polices mentioned in material included with Monday’s agenda include allowing the construction of accessory dwelling units, creating a community land trust and encouraging development near transportation hubs and employment centers.

The commission will also continue a conversation about the city-owned Bobby Jones Golf Club. The city previously decided to reduce the footprint of the municipal course from 45 to 36 holes, using the surplus land to create public park amenities. The redesigned course would include 27 regulation holes and a 9-hole practice course.

At Monday’s workshop, the board will review three proposals a consultant produced for incorporating parkland into the Bobby Jones property. Although two of the options adhere to the commission's selected 36-hole plan, a third would expand the park space and downsize the course to 27 holes.

In a Jan. 15 memo, City Manager Tom Barwin said city administration supports the third option that would shrink the course beyond what the commission previously endorsed. Barwin wrote that the 27-hole plan would allow for more amenities tailored to non-golfers and more environmental improvements to the 293-acre site. Barwin also shared his belief the smaller golf course would be a safer financial proposition for the city.

“This strategy provides ample golf and should reduce initial capital outlay in the renovation of BJGC and reduce course maintenance costs,” Barwin wrote in the memo. “This configuration will readily accommodate 50,000 to 75,000 rounds, which is more aligned with future needs when future golfing trends are anticipated.”

The commission is also scheduled to discuss potential sites for the construction of a new building to house the city’s development services department. The full agenda for Monday’s workshop is available on the city’s website.

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